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Rep. Kuster Calls for New England VA Director's Removal

Peter Biello
Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith (left) watches as Rep. Annie Kuster speaks at the Manchester VA in August 2017.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster is calling for the removal of a high-ranking VA official who she says needs to be held accountable for problems at New England's VA medical centers.

In a letter sent last month to VA Secretary David Shulkin, Kuster requests that Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith be removed from his position as director of the New England VA Healthcare System.

VA whistleblowers have been calling for his removal for months, saying that he knew about deficiencies at the Manchester VA but didn't do enough to help. 

Kuster says problems at VA medical centers under Mayo-Smith's supervision (Boston, Bedford, Massachusetts, and Maine) also justify his removal.

"The situation is just untenable," says Kuster. "I don't think Secretary Shulkin can move forward to provide quality services to New England veterans without new leadership."

Dr. Stewart Levenson, VA whistleblower and a potential Republican challenger to Kuster in this year's election, says he's been calling for Mayo-Smith's removal for nearly a year. And he faults Kuster for failing to do this sooner.

The VA has not responded to NHPR's request for comment.

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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